Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hebrews 11:5-8 -- On Faith and Uncertainty

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."
Hebrews 11:5-8

So much good in this chapter. :)  I like the word "translated" in the first verse.  We often think of translation in terms of language only, but the word also carries the sense of movement and change beyond just words.  Enoch, instead of dying, was translated... without going through the middle stage of death and waiting for his spirit and body to be reunited at the resurrection, he was changed immediately from life to resurrection.  I love that idea that some people through faith can step around death into renewed life. I also like the stories of Noah and Abraham here, who exercised faith to walk into a future that was uncertain, except that they knew it would be very different than what they were used to.  Which, actually is what Enoch did too.  His was just post-mortal. 
God asks similar things of us.  It might not be abandoning our families and homelands, it might not be saving the last of humanity, and it might not be being translated from this life to the next... but you never know, it could be any of those things, or different things with similar challenges.  God wants us to have enough faith and trust in him to step into the unknown.  By definition, we won't always know what to expect, but God promises that if we seek him and do as he asks that the rewards will be amazing.
The idea that "without faith it is impossible to please him" is an interesting one.  I think that it means that we have to learn to deal with some ambiguity.  We aren't always going to be able to prepare for or anticipate what comes next.  Sometimes things will happen that will cause massive changes in our lives, and that might turn our worlds upside down.  It won't always be fun, and it will often be scary.  But God is our constant.  He will always be there, and if we look to him, he will support us through it all and help us and guide us.  Today, let's have faith to walk where God asks us to walk, no matter what is ahead, no matter how far we can see down the road.

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